Manila, Philippines – A militant lawmaker questioned the Philippine National Police (PNP) for its failure to assist the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) with the implementation of its Writ of Installation of agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) belonging to the Madaum Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Association, Inc. (MARBAI) on the 145-hectare lands, used to be part of the banana plantation of Lapanday Foods Corporation (LFC), located in Tagum City, Davao Del Norte.
“Elements of the PNP are quick to react on drug-related cases, but a ‘no-show’ to implement a landmark and pro-farmer decision by the President’s alter-ego for agrarian reform, Sec. Ka Paeng Mariano,” Anakpawis Party-list Representative Ariel “Ka Ayik” Casilao who was with the members of MARBAI since Monday.
Casilao filed the House Resolution No. 634 that called for a congressional inquiry on the shooting of ARBs by armed guards of Lapanday last December. He suspected that the strong influence of the Lorenzo family, who owns LFC, had a major role with the PNP’s failure to assist DAR on carrying out its mandate on serving the farmers.
“If the ARBs are not to be installed immediately within a few days, we will be compelled to push for a congressional inquiry on how the PNP abandoned DAR, though with PNP Chief Dela Rosa’s personal commitment to Sec. Mariano,” Casilao said.
MARBAI farmers said that LFC deployed more than 700 armed guards on the land as defiance of the DAR installation order.
“This deployment of armed guards by Lapanday, is an admission of guilt that they were indeed involved with the December violent shooting against the ARBs, when during a committee hearing in congress, its representatives even claimed that the perpetrators were members of the MNLF,” Casilao said.
The lawmaker said that the agrarian reform agenda is a major concern that would impact the Duterte government, as its sincere fulfillment will benefit millions of farmers nationwide. He urged President Rodrigo Duterte to express his full support on the installation of MARBAI ARBs and expel the armed resistance of the Lorenzo family.
“The president recently criticized a member of the oligarchy during his state visits abroad, when in fact, his agrarian reform secretary is head on against another oligarchy, the Lorenzo family, just to fulfill his campaign promises for fundamental change in society; with all the babble about being strong willed against criminality but actually being tolerant of a rich family who is already affronting his cabinet leader, it is a character of being sham and pretension,” Casilao said. ###